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Sixers look to end 2017 on high note against Suns

By Josh Liddick, Sports Talk Philly editor 

The Sixers are finally coming off a win after Saturday night's victory over the Nuggets in Denver. 

It wasn't the prettiest of wins by any means, but at the end of the day, the Sixers were able to get back in the win column, something that has been hard to do in weeks past.

The Sixers rallied late in the second half behind solid play from Dario Saric and Jerryd Bayless to pull out a 107-102 win.

Tonight, on New Years Eve, the Sixers head over to Phoenix to take on the Suns, who have Devin Booker back from a groin injury.

How can the Sixers stop Devin Booker?

The last time the Sixers met Devin Booker and the Suns was at the Wells Fargo Center on December 4, and he scored 46 points in the Suns' 115-101 win.

A game later, Booker left with a groin injury that put him out of action for nearly a month.

Two games back from returning, Booker has already made an immediate impact for the Suns, scoring 32 points in his return against the Grizzlies, and then 26 points on Friday against the Kings.

Taking on the Sixers again, Booker will look to get back to the player he was against the Sixers the first time, but he definitely hasn't missed a beat since coming back.

Tyson Chandler, who's been a big part of the Suns winning five of their last seven games said of Booker:

"He's a special player," Chandler told reporters about Booker. "You can see it. Some players that come into this league just have it. They're few and far between, and he's one of those players."

Playing shooting guard, Booker will most likely find matchups with JJ Redick and then most likely Jerryd Bayless in certain situations, so the game will be a lot about getting the right kind of pressure on Booker, forcing him to take bad, contested shots.

Joel Embiid playing in second half of back-to-back

Well on a positive note, the Sixers will have Joel Embiid in the lineup. Embiid missed Saturday night's game in Denver due to a back-to-back restriction.

The Sixers actually were able to pull out the win without Embiid last night, so getting him back is definitely a positive.

Embiid will almost definitely be looking to finish out a 2017 filled with many ebbs and flows on a positive note.

He's only played five of his last 11 games, missing games earlier in the month due to back soreness. Embiid is averaging 24 points per game, good for 14th in the NBA for scoring.

With the Suns on a hot streak, and looking for yet another victory over the Sixers, this time on their home court, Embiid will have an enticing matchup with Chandler and Alex Len.

Ben Simmons will try to get back on track

Ben Simmons had a great first couple months of his NBA career, posting high averages in scoring and rebounds. He averaged 19.5 points and 9.3 rebounds through November.

However, his production in December hasn't been filled with the same kind of highlights. He's averaging 14 points and 7.5 rebounds in December.

He did like the way the Sixers played as a team and how everyone found themselves a role to play in order to get the win.


Matchup Preview  |  December 31, 2017
Philadelphia 76ers
(16-19, Away)
  Phoenix Suns
(14-23, Home)
Projected Starters
Ben Simmons Point Guard Tyler Ulis
JJ Redick Shooting Guard Devin Booker
Robert Covington Small Forward T.J. Warren
Dario Saric Power Forward Marquese Chriss
Joel Embiid Center Tyson Chandler
Injury Report
Markelle Fultz
  Brandon Knight
Justin Anderson
game-time decision
  Alan Williams
    Davon Reed

Broadcast Information

When: 8 p.m. ET

Where: Talking Stick Resort Arena, Phoenix, AZ

Watch: NBC Sports Philadelphia

Listen: 97.5 The Fanatic



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